Ideological Department League of Young Communists USA

Role of Discipline in the Party

[NOTE: The study paper below was used in political education classes of the New Jewel Movement; author and date unknown.]

Remembering Maurice Bishop and Grenada’s Revolution
PHOTO: Don Rojas (left), Maurice Bishop (center), Fidel Castro (right) SOURCE:

To preserve the unity and monolithic character of its ranks, the Leninist Party must observe proletarian discipline. Lenin said that

As we proceed with the building of a real party, the class-conscious worker must learn to distinguish the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual who parades anarchistic phrases; he must lean to insist that the duties of a Party member be fulfilled not only by the rank and file but by the people at the top as well.

Discipline means organization, unity of will, and unity of revolutionary action in the Party of the working class.

Unite of Party ranks is inconceivable without discipline. Lack of discipline leads to factionalism, the emergence of groups who put their narrow interests above those of the Party. The presence of factions and groupings leads to the weakening and deterioration of discipline in the Party, undermines its unity and splits its ranks.

Guided by this Leninist principle the Communist Party has throughout its history waged an irreconcilable struggle against all kinds of revisionist and dogmatic and sectarian views.

Lenin never denied that Party members could have different opinions on the policy of the Party. The elaboration of this policy involves discussing and analysing different views. The important thing is not to allow it to develop into a split. Lenin wrote

A struggle of shades in the Party is inevitable and essential, as long as it does not lead to anarchy and splits, as long as it is confined within bounds approved by the common consent of all comrades and Party members.

Lenin said that a split in a revolutionary party must not be tolerated, especially when it has become a ruling party, for this could result in the loss of revolutionary gains.

Lenin regarded general Party discussion as a means of overcoming differences of opinion, as a means of strengthening the unity of the Party. Discussion helps to define more precisely the different points of view and the Party’s attitude towards them, and to overcome views that are erroneous.

Lenin was against discussions that would give factionalists an opportunity to undermine the Party. Lenin was against discussions that were empty of meaning, that distracted the Party’s attention from real problems and turned the Party into a debating club, a conglomeration of factions and groupings.

The Marxist party is not the only working class organisation. Other mass organizations waging a successful struggle against the exploiters are the trade unions, co-operatives, youth leagues, women’s associations, cultural and educational societies and militant revolutionary organizations that are formed in the course of carrying out open revolutionary actions.

Each of these organizations carry on work in its own sphere of activity. But they all need an organized body capable of working out a common line of activity. Such and organization is the Communist Party, the vanguard of the working class, which is also the highest form of class organisation of the proletariat and leader of all the working people.

The opportunists have long been trying to belittle and undermine the role of the communist Party as the leading organization of the working people. Marxist-Leninists have always resolutely exposed such attempts by revisionists, for a weakening of the vanguard role of the Party inevitable weakens all the other organizations of the proletariat.